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Old Book Stores in Sri Lanka

May 17, 2011

Haven’t blogged in a while, which isn’t quite surprising if you knew my previous attempts at blogging. But hey, I am still here. Blogging today because I came across something pretty cool and just had to share. Salon has done a wonderful slideshow/presentation on the most inspiring bookstores in the world. Click here and be in awe. Some absolute gems in there, like John K King in Detroit, about whom Salon writes:

‘Cardboard signs, musty paperback aromas, and a hand-scrawled map out of a Wes Anderson panic attack are your only tour guides as you lose track of time and the person you came with. Outside, it’s urban decay. Inside, it’s a creaking, pulsing monument to how much Kindles suck’

I want to go here: John K King Bookstore, Detroit. Photo credit: Justin Baker

The last comment – about why Kindles suck – got me worked up as inane shit like this usually does. Let me state this right out: I hate e-books, audio books, e-book readers, etc., And I love old book stores. If you are Sri Lankan like me, you’ll know that a number of our mainstream bookstores are – how to put this kindly? – crap and, like the Kindles, suck. If you like the musty smell of old book stores, like to take your time in exploring the shelves, have a greater selection of books at your grasp, then a more serendipitous atmosphere for bookworms I cannot think of.

Directions: If you are coming from the Union Place direction, pass St Josephs College on your left, take a left prior to the roundabout. If you are coming in from Forte, turn into D R Wijewardene Mawatha off the Forte roundabout, head straight towards Maradana, book stores will be on your left just prior to the Maradana roundabout.

PS: Anyone know of other good old book stores in the Colombo area? Or indeed in Sri Lanka?


Janaki Tandavam

December 19, 2010

Was in India for a couple of weeks. This is a selection of photographs that I took at a Bharatha Natyam performance by Dr Janaki Rangarajan in New Delhi at the India Habitat Centre. Thoroughly enjoyed the performance and, as usual, borrowed Lost Queen’s funky DSLR to capture the following.

Copyright © 2011 Theena Kumaragurunathan

Copyright © 2011 Theena Kumaragurunathan

Copyright © 2011 Theena Kumaragurunathan

Copyright © 2011 Theena Kumaragurunathan

The Sunday Observer and Plagiarism

November 22, 2010

Sri Lanka’s state-owned Sunday Observer, the English newspaper with the widest circulation and the most linguistically challenged editorial staff, has a long history of plagiarism.

I’ve had my article stolen around 2006 and personally know of photographers and writers whose work appeared on the sorry excuse for a newspaper without them knowing about it. Read more about their latest act of intellectual property theft here. The idiot graphic designer actually sketched out the photograph in question and had the audacity to put his signature on the copied image.

I wonder if this is genuine lack of comprehension – of English and/or of the legalities of intellectual property – or just a dearth of common sense among its editorial staff.

The Great Gig in the Sky

November 2, 2010

Captured in Batticaloa.

Stigmata’s Live Sound

October 22, 2010

I am passionate about music in general, and heavy metal in particular, so conversation with me will inevitably go down that path. What music I like, what bands I follow, etc. One of the things that I tend to always bring up in conversation with music buffs is the underground music scene in Sri Lanka. Rock music in general has experienced a massive increase in listenership in my country. Credit for that, in my mind, will always go to Stigmata.

It was around 2003 I first saw them, a couple of weeks or so before the launch of their debut ‘Hollow Dreams’. I wasn’t into heavy metal then – heck I was not even sure what the term meant being, as I was, in the midst of my Nirvana phase at the time – but it took two songs into their set that night for me to sit up and take notice. And I wasn’t the only one. I can bet a majority of the kids who came that day weren’t sure either, except the adrenaline rush of the music had a hypnotic quality that was hard to explain. At the time, Stigmata was doing no other band was willing to: compose heavy original music. Today there are around 15 bands in this country playing heavy music.

Seven years on, Stigmata has pretty much established themselves as the leaders of this burgeoning underground scene that covers the entire spectrum of extreme progressive metal, from black and death metal to jazz fusion-inspired progressive rock. I wonder if this would have been possible had Stigmata not been brave enough to make the first steps.

But that’s a discussion for another day.  I make this post because I’ve done my share of spreading the word about Stigmata and the local music scene on the internet. When I posted alot on music forums, I would talk about Stigmata and the other bands in this country. I’ve shared some of Stigs’ earlier material, but that is no longer representative of their sound. In many ways, Stigmata are a live band – and a killer live band at that.  Recently they played in Australia, the first Sri Lankan metal band to play in those shores and the only metal band invited for the festival, and as luck would have it their performance has been recorded and uploaded by these kind folks. A pretty good recording too.

You can download it here:

The setlist is as follows:

1. Andura
2. SpiralComa
3. Purer (Libera Nos A Malo)
4. Jazz Theory
5. The Summoning Cry of Aries
6. March of The Saints

Length: 45:18

Sound Quality: A-

I hope this kind of piques your curiosity enough to want to check out their recorded material, the latest album being ‘Psalms of Conscious Martyrdom’.  A double review of the ‘Psalms and their sophomore record ‘Silent Chaos Serpentine’ can be found here:

Sunrise and Sunset over Batticaloa

October 20, 2010

Was in Batti for a few days and captured the following near Kallady Bridge.




September 12, 2010

The Lost Queen’s DSLR found its way to my paws and this is what came out of it. Inspired by the art of Timmy Barco

The Father

The Father

The Son

The Son

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

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